First time Volvo Ocean Race competitors Groupama sailing team have exceeded their own expectations by reaching the top of the leaderboard, skipper Franck Cammas said.
The French team sailed into pole position on Thursday after claiming second place in the Leg 7 race from Miami to Lisbon, scoring a crucial 25 points that took their tally to 183 and saw Team Telefónica dislodged from the top for the first time since November.
It’s an impressive turn around for the French team who have had a successful comeback since breaking their mast and completing the final 650 nautical miles of Leg 5 under jury rig.
The team flew in a replacement mast and have gone from strength to strength since, winning the DHL In-Port Race Itajaí, finishing third in Leg 6 and placing second in the PORTMIAMI In-Port Race, before Thursday's late finish in second.
Elated skipper Franck Cammas said it was a wonderful feeling to be in the lead of his first Volvo Ocean Race.
“Overall leader; that is a good moment,’’ Cammas said on the dock at Lisbon. “We didn’t expect that when we started in Alicante, so to be in this position near the finish is a dream for us.”
But Cammas is more than aware he has a fight on his hands to win what has shaped up to be the closest contest in the race’s 39-year-history, with just five scoring opportunities and a maximum 78 points remaining.
“We have to keep going,” Cammas said. “I think it is a positive pressure for the team and everybody is excited we’re here.
“The race is not finished yet, so it’s very exciting for all the people on shore and on the sea as well, to see this close fight.”
Scoreboard LEG 7 TOTAL
1 Groupama sailing team 25 183
2 Team Telefónica 15 180
3 PUMA Ocean Racing by BERG 20 171
4 CAMPER with Emirates Team NZ 10 162
5 Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing 30 104
6 Team Sanya 5 32
- Volvo Ocean Race Media
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